When Tranmere dropped into non-league in 2015, the club needed big personalities. It needed leaders on the pitch, not only to win games of football, but to help rebuild the relationship between the players and fans which had been decimated.
Rovers were at their lowest ebb, and as Gary Brabin began to put a squad in place that could lead Tranmere into this new unknown era, he did several bits of business that would create a lasting legacy.
James Norwood was the first man through the door, but not far behind was a goalkeeper few had heard of. Scott Davies.
Davies came in on a free transfer from Fleetwood. He’d spent the previous season out on loan at Accrington, but he was someone who knew how to earn promotions. He’d earned two with Fleetwood and one with Morecambe. He was brought in with the hope that he would play a key role in securing another promotion.
What Davies actually achieved during his six-and-a-half year spell with Rovers undoubtedly far exceeded those expectations.
He instantly commanded the number one shirt and kept it throughout his stay at the club when fitness allowed. He produced some stunning early displays in the National League and became public enemy number one with opposition fans thanks to his gamesmanship.
These things of course endeared him to the Tranmere fans, but it was his passion for the club that help put him on the trajectory that will see him remembered among some of the club’s best servants.
He was never too busy to stop and chat with fans, never too important to get involved with community projects and certainly never shirked responsibility to stand in front of the press and answer tough questions after poor results.
He has always spoken about the club with pride – he very quickly understood what Tranmere was and is about, something very few players had managed to do in the decade prior to Davies arriving. Following play-off final defeat in 2017, Davies was visibly distraught at the final whistle and later spoke about how difficult he found it to cope with the anguish of missing out on a return to the EFL with Tranmere.
However, for many of the squad involved that day who stayed until the following season, that fateful day at Wembley in 2017 proved a catalyst.
Twelve months later Tranmere returned to Wembley and won one of the most staggering games in the club’s history to secure a return to the Football League. Davies was instrumental throughout that 17/18 season, his joy at full-time creating images that would be remembered for some time.
The team headed back to Prenton Park and partied with fans late into the night, Davies at the forefront, enjoying the success he and his teammates had brought the fans.
Into League Two, Scotty kept his place as the Tranmere’s number one. His impressive record for keeping clean sheets was a key ingredient in Micky Mellon’s recipe for success. That success came quickly once more – another Wembley play-off final in 2019, another sensational Davies performance somehow kept Newport at bay before Connor Jennings’ 120th minute header sent Rovers into League One.
By then, Davies had become captain alongside Steve McNulty as the veteran centre-back found games limited. The pair lifted the promotion trophy aloft as they celebrated a remarkable second successive promotion.
Again, it was back to Prenton Park and Birkenhead for days of partying and celebrating with fans, videos of Scotty (among others) singing and dancing with fans in the Fan Park. The celebrations after these promotions demonstrated how tight the relationship between fans and players had become, and personalities like that of Scott Davies had been instrumental in building that.
Our first season back in League One was of course marred by the disgraceful incompetence of Rick Parry and the EFL’s unjust PPG method of ending a season. Rovers were demoted, but Davies excelled prior to the campaign being ended prematurely and images of him celebrating the victory at Blackpool days before the season was cancelled again demonstrated his love and passion for the club.
Scotty led Rovers out at Wembley for a fourth time in 2021 as Rovers contested the Papa Johns Trophy Final, but he would be harshly robbed of the chance to lead the club into the play-offs once more due to injury. That injury – an achilles injury – would prove to be the action for Davies. After two surgeries and months of hard work, he was forced to retire today.
It’s tremendously difficult for any player who has been forced into retirement due to injury, but it feels incredibly cruel for Scott that his final appearance for Rovers came in a behind-closed-door game.
Every Tranmere fan will wish Scotty all the very best for the future and thank him for his massive contribution to the club since his arrival in 2015.